Liability Insurance Coverage covering all Councils of the State
At the 108th State Convention in 2011, Council 8242 Cheney-Hammond presented a resolution that was identified as Resolution #11 (copy attached). It was a resolution that, as amended, charged the State Council to consider obtaining a basic liability insurance policy covering all the Councils of the State.
The State Board has taken the following action in response to this resolution;
1. A committee was set up to manage this project.
2. The criteria of coverage to give the Councils’ executives, directors, members and volunteers the required protection was developed with the assistance of two Brother Knights who are general insurance brokers familiar with liability coverage for groups organized in the same manner as the Knights of Columbus.
3. The criteria were then presented by the committee to the State Board which gave their approval.
4. A selection of four (4) brokers was made and the criteria were given to them in a Request for Proposal (RFP).
5. The brokers were assigned specific underwriters so that no obstacles would arise in their ability to quote.
6. The broker of choice met all the requirements of the matrix, has a lengthy history of dealing with Catholic organizations and is willing to work with the Ontario Knights of Columbus to fine tune the policy based on history.
It is important to note that this policy names the following as insured;
• All Knights of Columbus Councils in Ontario
• All members of Knights of Columbus Councils in Ontario
• All executive of Knights of Columbus Councils in Ontario
• All volunteers of Knights of Columbus Councils (members and non-members) in Ontario
• All Columbian Squire Circles in Ontario
• All Executive of Columbian Squire Circles in Ontario
• Members and volunteers of the Columbian Squires
• The Catholic Youth Leadership Camp (annual)
• All adult counselors (male and female) and the campers and
• The operations of these organizations
o Including but not limited to executive meetings, committee meetings, and annual meetings. Fund raising activities, such as bingos, raffle ticket sales, breakfasts, dinners (incidental alcohol coverage is included for award banquets, fundraising banquets, and Church dinners and Functions provided all permits and licenses are in place). Sporting activities, non contact e.g. Basketball Free Throw and Soccer Challenge
Please also note that this policy does not cover Ontario State Board, Ontario State Office and any Corporations e.g. Columbus Halls. It is a requirement for these organizations to acquire proper and separate coverage for themselves.
The total premium for the coverage is in excess of $288,000 per year which could mean a cost per Council of between $700 and $900 per year.
If we believe that Resolution #11 was passed because the majority of the State Council recognizes the need to protect the members, executive and volunteers of the Order in Ontario from potential liability suites that could result in personal financial loss, your State Board believes that this proposal meets those needs.
The amended Resolution #11 charged the State Board to “bring a proposal on how the liability insurance will be funded to the next annual general meeting once all details of the coverage are established.” This is being done by the Immediate Past State Deputy on Sunday May 20, 2012 to those that are in attendance.
Since the number of Councils that are able to attend the annual convention is considered by the State Board to be insufficient to agree to proceed with a project of this magnitude, I want to ensure that all our members have as clear understanding of this project as well as an opportunity to discuss it; remembering the benefits that this coverage provides as well as understanding the exposure of not having such protection.
I am asking you to take time to review the attached information. Make sure that you understand this information and bring it to your individual Councils at a general meeting in June and field questions that may arise. Brothers this has a major impact on all of us and as such I am asking you to take a leadership role to provide a method of protection to our brothers. If further clarification is needed, please contact the State Office in writing to the attention of Jack Costigan.
Once this discussion has taken place, I am asking you to complete the attached comment sheet indicating the general feeling of the Council and return it to the State Office by midnight June 30, 2012
The action of Council 8242 Cheney-Hammond at last year’s convention truly exemplifies the theme of that convention which was “I am my Brother’s Keeper”. Thank you for all that you do every day to grow the Order and do the work of the Knights of Columbus in Ontario.
FACT SHEET TO ASSIST IN THE DISCUSSION WITH THE COUNCIL MEMBERS
Details of this comprehensive liability insurance
WHO … qualifies for coverage?
- All councils of the knights of Columbus in Ontario in good standing, all members within each council, plus all executive and volunteers (Members and non-Members).
- The Columbian Squires Youth Groups plus all its members, Executives and volunteers of this organization
- Catholic Youth Leadership Camp at various locations as well as all the adult counselors and campers (male and female)
WHAT …is the coverage?
- All the premises under the listed names above. Please remember we are not covering any Hall/ Corporation.
- We have a General Liability of $3,000,000. This includes Bodily injury, property damage, personal & advertising damages, complete operations coverage, tenant legal liability and coverage for all councils that use special occasion liquor permits coverage. Again we are not covering the Halls/ Corporations that operate under a fixed liquor license
- Directors & Officers of all councils are covered under the General Liability with the same coverage
- All councils that require insurance permits for (basketball Free Throw, Raffle ticket sales, dinners and socials)
- Our aggregate total of $25,000,000.
- Abuse Limited Liability Coverage for all councils (To cover the council’s legal fees, not the fees of the individual)
- Auto mobile owned or rented coverage for all Directors & Executive relating to K of C business only
- Property coverage for all councils with respect to their own property such as computers, furniture, flags, robes, banners and other sundry items.
- Extra Expense coverage should your council be forced out of it meeting premises
- Crime coverage, should the council have a theft (moneys, documents) whether internal or external.
WHERE…is the coverage in place?
- The policy covers councils operating in the province of Ontario. It covers all aspects of the day to day operations of all councils. Should a council member be out of the province doing business on behalf of his council but still in Canada coverage is in place.
WHY…is this being introduced?
- As mentioned in the opening remarks the Ontario State Board was asked by resolution #11 to prepare a report, evaluate and present a proposal.
- After completing this evaluation, it has become evident that we must start protecting our councils, directors, executives and most of all our membership from liability issues.
- To provide comprehensive coverage and protection to all councils of any size at a reasonable cost
- Initiating a program like this will build history on the Knights of Columbus, therefore provide a track record so we are able to revisit the levels of coverage and customize a program that models our ethics, standards and culture that have made the Knights of Columbus a well-respected organization.
How….do we move forward… How much will this cost?
- Review this package so that you have a clear understanding.
- Meet with as many members of your council and make them aware of what we are presenting
- Get feedback and address concerns and questions
- Refer to State Office for assistance in answering questions
- Make a decision to do what is best for your council and brother Knights
- Complete the comment card and send or fax to Ontario State Office by midnight June 30, 2012.
Text of Immediate Past State Deputy Arthur Peters
109th State Convention - May 20, 2012
Over the years, Councils have asked the Ontario State Board to look into the provision of a liability insurance policy that would cover all of the members and Councils in Ontario. As we all know, the costs associated with this have become such that some Councils have actually cancelled their local insurance policies, a dangerous move that puts the Council and its members in jeopardy each time they carry out an event.
A few years back, the State Board established a relationship with the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario that would provide coverage through Catholic Mutual for the Knights of Columbus as long as the event was sanctioned as a church activity by the local Pastor. While on paper this made sense, it soon became apparent that there were issues, including the definition of what was a church activity, the discretion of the Pastor as to whether he would allow the Knights to access this policy, and the fact that this extension did not cover events where alcohol came into play.
Last year, a new issue was found with this relationship, where it was realized that this arrangement covered the individual Knights of Columbus member as a Catholic volunteer, but did not provide any coverage for the Knights of Columbus Council as an entity. What his meant was that Brother Joe Smith, in his capacity as a dues paying member, would be covered if the Council were to be sued, but Council 12345 as an entity would be on its own when it came to defending itself against a claim. A very risky situation, indeed!
In the society that we live in today, having proper insurance coverage in place is more than just common sense, it is virtually an absolute necessity. I often use an analogy when describing what happens when someone sues – they use a machine gun approach, naming everyone and everything possible in the hopes that it will land on someone. Ultimately, at the end of the day, some of the defendants will not have to proceed, while others will be left having to defend or settle a potential claim.
As Knights of Columbus Councils and members, we are ‘out there’ in the community, living Father McGivney’s dream of helping others through various acts of service and events designed to raise funds for this purpose. The list is endless: basketball free throw, selling raffle tickets in malls, parishes, stores, holding dinners, participating in community wide events. Each and every time we do this, we are exposing ourselves to the potential of a legal action if something were to go wrong. And were not talking about the 99.9% of the time where there will not be any issues, but the .1% of the time where it may. Brother Bob is happy to help with the annual Council fish fry, but what happens when the oil overheats and splashes onto his body, causing him to miss six months of work and undergo multiple medical procedures? What do we do when Elizabeth comes to our table to purchase a raffle ticket because she wants to support The Arthritis Society, only to slip, fall, and break her wrist because the person before her spilled their drink all over the floor in front of the table? Little Jeffrey was happy to be named as the eleven year old winner in the basketball free throw, but afterwards, as an impromptu basketball game commences, he is pushed to the ground and loses three teeth when his face hits the gym floor, and now requires dental surgery. And I don’t even want to get into the annual Council awards dinner where someone unfortunately happens to consume more alcohol than they can handle, and then get behind the wheel of a car. While some of this may seem far fetched, the reality is that each time we hold an event we open ourselves to the potential of an action should anything happen to someone who participates in our events for the right reasons, but experiences something wrong.
Last year, at our Convention, a resolution was passed that the State Council consider obtaining a basic liability insurance policy to cover all Councils in Ontario. A committee was struck with two members of the Order, both qualified insurance brokers with a strong background in the industry, and members of the State Board and State Office to look into this matter. A determination was made of the coverage needed, and bids were sought from four brokers. At the end of the day, we have received a proposal from a broker which was determined to meet all of the requirements that we needed to provide sufficient coverage for our Councils and membership.
I’m not going to go into all of the details here, but will provide some highlights. A package has been prepared for Councils that will be handed out today, and then sent to all Grand Knights on Tuesday, both electronically through our EDRC process, as well as hard copy in the mail.
The policy would provide liability insurance coverage to all Knights of Columbus Councils in Ontario, all members of the Council, executive members serving in these capacities, volunteers acting in the capacity of an event under the Knights of Columbus Council, the Squires organization in the same capacities just mentioned for the Knights, and the Catholic Youth Leadership Camp operated by the State Board, including participants and Counsellors. Also included are the following:
• Meetings of the Councils (executive, committee, and annual.)
• Fund raising activities – bingo, raffle ticket sales, breakfasts and dinners.
• Sporting activities – free throw, soccer challenge, special Olympics events
• Events where alcohol is being served provided that the Council has obtained all necessary permits and licenses.
What this does not cover is Council Halls, which are required as a separate Corporation to have their own insurance in place.
Now, if we think about this, if a Council does not currently have insurance for special events such as a dinner or the free throw, they often turn to an insurance company to obtain one time coverage, which can become quite costly. Obtaining two or three of these policies each year can impact the revenue stream of the Council. Or they simply do without and take the chance that the .1% that I mentioned earlier won’t happen to them.
Before I get to the fun part – cost – I do need to mention one critical piece of this equation – this proposal has been put together as an all in policy, meaning that it will cover every Council and every member in Ontario. It will not work if a Council does not wish to participate – it will be a requirement that all Councils and members of the Knights of Columbus in Ontario are part of the coverage.
So the next two points are cost and process.
Cost – the cost for the coverage that we have sought is in excess of $288,000 per year. We have looked at different ways as to how to distribute this cost among the Councils and members in Ontario. Right now, it is estimated that this could lead to a per Council cost of between $700 and $900 per year.
Process: as I mentioned, what I have outlined here will be handed out in hard copy to delegates her today, as well as distributed electronically, and then mailed to every Council in Ontario. In our discussions, we believed it to be critical that all Councils, not just those here this weekend, have the opportunity to read, understand, and familiarize themselves with the proposal. We are asking that this be taken back to your Councils for a full discussion and a decision as to whether the Council will be participating. We are then asking for Councils to submit a comment sheet that will declare their intention on this matter, to be signed by the Grand Knight and Financial Secretary, and sent back to the State Office no later than June 30th. This gives two full months to discuss and make a decision on this matter.
The State Board has discussed this matter in full, and has determined the following:
- In order to deem this proposal to be accepted, we will be seeking a return of a minimum of 90% of the comment sheets.
- From this, we have set a minimum of 80% of the returns being agreeable with the proposal as the minimum that we will need to move this forward.
- If we achieve these benchmarks, we will take this as a mandate to move forward, and all Councils will be covered, even those that did not agree to participate, and a plan will be put in place for implementation, including the recovery of the premium costs from all Councils.
- If we do not achieve both of these benchmarks, it will be determined that consent has not been obtained, and we will not move forward with this proposal. And the matter, having been considered, will be completed.
Brothers, in ten years on the State Board, the matter of general liability insurance has always been one that has been raised. In response to the concerns and requests of our Councils and members, we put this proposal before our membership for consideration. It is now up to all of us to act. If there are any questions, and I’m sure there will be, please direct them in writing to the State Office – the reason I say in writing is so that there is a record of what has been asked and the answer given. We look forward to your comments, and ask that this matter be given priority in your Council deliberations over the next few weeks.